Moscow (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko will meet today in Minsk. The meeting, together with representatives of the European Union, will take place in Belarus in a summit of the Customs Union, a group of nations that border Russia.
None of the personalities involved has expressed hope that the meeting will have a positive outcome to ease the growing tension between on the borders of the two countries, marked by separatist currents and acts of war.
The UN estimates that since last March, when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula, there have been at least 2 thousand people killed in the struggle between Ukrainian forces and the separatists from Donetsk and Luhansk (see photo).
Two days ago, Pope Francis launched an appeal for Ukraine, his thoughts turning "to all her sons and daughters, their yearning for peace and serenity, threatened by a situation of tension and conflict that continues unabated , causing so much suffering among the civilian population".
Moscow wants to send a second humanitarian convoy to meet the needs of the separatists. Days ago, Russia sent a column of 280 trucks arousing the suspicion and condemnation of the EU and Kiev. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the second convoy of aid could be distributed with the help of the Red Cross and the Ukrainian government.
The Ukrainian security services have stated that the army has captured 10 Russian soldiers near the village of Dzerkalne, about 50 km from the city of Donetsk, which is in rebel hands.
Today's meeting takes place just hours before the dissolution of the Ukrainian parliament. Poroshenko has determined that the new elections will take place on October 26th. The Ukrainian president said that new elections are needed to replace several MPs elected at the time of Viktor Yanukovich, who "hinder reforms" and push for greater independence from Moscow.